Online Defamation Loss Means Courtney Love Has to Pay Big

Oh, Courtney Love.

The Hole front-woman has found herself in the center of yet another costly legal battle. This time around, the notoriously erratic Courtney is paying up for defaming a fashion designer, Dawn Simorangkir, online. Love’s unlovely tweet-rants are costing her a cool $430,000.

Courtney’s Online Defamation Story

It all started in 2009 after Love had bought some clothing from Simorangkir —an up-and-coming clothing designer popularly known as the “Boudoir Queen”. Apparently, Dawn and Courtney got into a disagreement over a $4,000 bill. Love said she didn’t owe it, Simorangkir insisted she did. Instead of handling the dispute in private, Courtney decided to take to Twitter and unleashed a tirade. Accusations ranged from assault and battery, to prostitution, to drug dealing. In one of her more prolific tweets, Love described the Boudoir Queen as an “a**wipe nasty lying hosebag thief”. You know, typical Courtney Love talk.

The attacks were immediately disseminated to Love’s 40,000 followers and re-tweeted thousands of times over. In the days following the initial Twitter rant, offensive comments about Simorangkir began to surface on etsy.com and MySpace.

Shortly after the incident, the designer filed a defamation lawsuit against Courtney Love claiming that the offensive tweets ruined her fashion business.

A trial date was set and settlement talks began. Both sides decided on a $430,000 payday for Simorangkir before the Internet defamation lawsuit saw the inside of the court room.

Legal Implications for Twitter Defamation

In some ways, it’s disappointing that Love’s online defamation trial was eventually settled out of court, for it would have been one of the first defamation lawsuits that dealt with the increasingly popular social media phenomenon, Twitter.

Reports indicate that if the case had been heard by a jury, Love was planning to defend herself by claiming that her tweets were merely opinion. The defense lawyers also had a medical expert lined up who was expected to assert that Courtney wasn’t in a “right state of mind” when publishing the tweets; in essence, a defense that could be surmised as “tweeting while messed-up”.

If you are involved in an online defamation argument, the Kelly Law Firm can help. We’ve successfully handled Internet libel cases of all types and know the most effective ways of both getting the offending information removed and crafting end-user agreements which protect publishers from liability. Use the form to your right to get in touch, or give us a call at 866-961-4948. The consultation is free and our rates priced for online businesspeople.